Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 16th Jan 2009 08:45 UTC, submitted by stonyandcher
Features, Office Yesterday we ran a story on how educational institutions defaulting to Microsoft Office may stifle some people who do not own a copy of Office or Windows. A Forrester Research report now states the bloody obvious by claiming that organisations stick with Microsoft Word not out of necessity, but out of habit.
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Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Word processing, powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets should be virtually eliminated from most companies. Email should be very actively discouraged too. These are all extremely inefficient and a vast waste of time. Most large and small companies worked perfectly well before computers existed.


You're joking, right?

There are flaws in computer systems, but in general they are a huge time and money saver, even much maligned email. Every now and then I'll deal with a small company who only have phone/FAX, Faxing documents backwards and forwards, and having to call back to clarify information, hanging on the phone when they're engaged - it can end up taking half the day.

With word processing standard documents can be saved, to be edited and reprinted when necessary. Once all the common documents are saved on the system, it's not that often you need to type new documents from scratch. In fact, with the database system we use, most correspondence can be created with a couple of clicks, including mailmerge documents to thousands of customers. So much for the typing pool...

Spreadsheets and databases greatly increase efficiency and accuracy when dealing with information. It's staggering how quick, easy and error free previously complicated and time consuming tasks can become, thanks to a well designed spreadsheet. You'd have to be crazy to want to go back to a manual system of paper spreadsheets, card indexes and rooms full of filing cabinets.

The biggest problem with reducing the use of computers is that all the other organisations and companies wouldn't follow suite.

Do you think our external auditors would take a few crates of paper rather than emailed spreadsheets? In fact, for this year they've specified that they'll only accept Excel 2007 .XLSX files.

Almost every day we receive Word documents of important forms that need to be completed, then emailed or faxed back. Charities, at least over here, are required to deal with a huge amount of paperwork. Ignoring them would mean the loss of at least £250,000 in government grants, along with a failure to meet our record keeping obligations.

Even if we stopped using Powerpoint, despite all the past presentations that are saved and used for training, we'd still regularly receive Powerpoint presentations from other people. Some organisations use it to distribute information rather than putting it into a PDF or Word document.

We quite regularly get MS Publisher documents too, for some reason one local agency seems to use it instead of Word.

Why would we cause problems for ourselves by using software that isn't compatible with the documents we receive?

Overall, my workplace has fewer than half the members of staff it had before computerisation, yet gets a lot more done. Cutting back on the use of computers isn't an option. I'm sure the same is true for most other organisations and companies.

Reply Parent Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

General George C Marshall managed the entire US military effort in WW2 working no more than four to six hours a day. He delegated and made decisions rather than poring over spreadsheets and powerpoints or exchanging hundreds of emails with suppliers or junior officers the USA Army. I am quite certain the war effort was much bigger than your charity.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said 'I always wait three weeks before reading my mail - every problem will have resolved itself within that time.'

You are obviously not old enough to remember the days before computerised offices (I am). In fact they ran far more efficiently than most modern offices. People were far more relaxed, less stressed and much more efficient than today.

One of my friends is a specialist doctor. His practice is (along with two other doctors) entirely paper based except for accounts and appointments. All his records and prescriptions are handwritten. It takes less than 30 seconds to hand write a prescription or jot a few clinical notes. Another doctor I know has a fully computerised system, it takes him at 4x as long to perform the same tasks. Paper records are permanent and don't require backup.

The reality is that the vast majority of office work performed in organisations is totally pointless. Many major problems can be sorted out with a two minute conversation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: no i am deadly serious...
by Dave_K on Sun 18th Jan 2009 20:25 in reply to "no i am deadly serious..."
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

You are obviously not old enough to remember the days before computerised offices (I am). In fact they ran far more efficiently than most modern offices. People were far more relaxed, less stressed and much more efficient than today.


Not only am I old enough to remember non computerised offices, I've been involved in the transition of two large organisations to a computerised system.

I've directly seen how much time, effort and money can be saved with a well designed computer system. As well as the new services it's possible to offer customers, such as providing up to the minute information over the telephone thanks to a database system. Organisations didn't switch to computers on a whim, but out of a need to compete with those who already had the benefit of them.

In my experience the relaxed and efficient manual offices you describe never existed. They had just as much stress, while requiring twice as many staff to get the same job done. You're clearly looking back with rose tinted glasses.

Reply Parent Score: 3